No matter what you think about immigration, NPR’s Claudio Sanchez’ personal audio essay about returning to his hometown in Nogales, Mexico is a compelling, must-listen.
Millions of Mexicans live cross-border lives, their families kept apart by the wall, their attempts to be together for the holidays thwarted by international law and politics.
Sofia is 3 years old. Her mother, in her early 20s, says her name is Maria Del Rayo Hernandez and that they’re from Mexico City.
Her plan was to spend the holidays in New Jersey with the little girl’s father. Now, Hernandez says she’ll have to go back home to Mexico City. Crossing illegally is too dangerous, she says, which is what Agent Montiel has been saying all morning.
He warns the deportados that now that they’re back in Mexico, they shouldn’t let their guard down or trust anyone.
“You see,” Montiel tells them, “no matter how harrowing you thought your experience was on the U.S. side of the desert, there are people on the Mexican side who will prey on you.”
I was talking with Freddy the other day, a Mexican dairy worker on a Lewis County farm, for a story I’m working on.
Like so many other Mexicans in this country illegally, his decision was simple – live in poverty with few options for improvement for his newborn daughter, or make a risky trip to the United States, work long hours on a cold farm, and send money home for a new house, some land, and some savings.
What would you do?
Blame Mexico for failing to provide opportunity for its citizens. Blame a failed immigration policy, or lax enforcement, or a porous wall. But this is why families end up divided, and why 3 year-old Sofia ended up deportada.
But if your only option to provide for your family was to come North, would you do differently from Freddy?